Police warning over couple who con their way into Thornbury homes to steal from vulnerable
A COUPLE preying on vulnerable people have conned their way into two homes in Thornbury.
Avon and Somerset police are warning elderly people to beware of the pair, who trick their way into homes before stealing valuables.
They have struck at least seven times in the past month, including two reported incidents in Thornbury.
In the first, on September 4, police say a "vulnerable" woman was targeted in North Road.
The victim’s carer found a man in the hallway of her home, who claimed to be interested in buying a mountain bike.
He left after being told to go but the woman later found money had been taken from her purse.
The following day a couple appeared in the home of a disabled woman in Buckingham Parade.
The victim had left her back door unlocked but closed because she was expecting her carer to arrive.
A man and woman came in and told the victim they were going to make a cup of tea. They looked through her handbag, although they did not steal anything.
The two incidents have been linked to five others in Bristol, each involving a man and woman who are each described as white, around 5ft 8in tall and speaking with an accent which was "possibly Irish".
Victims said the man was "very thin, with long straggling hair" and the woman had "long dark hair and dark clothes".
Police say that in some of the incidents the couple have claimed to have a specific reason for visiting their victim and sometimes mention a name to try and sound genuine.
Investigating officer Alastair Binnie said: “The suspects are callously targeting elderly and vulnerable people at night, often around the time when a carer is due to visit.
"This has been distressing for all of the victims and so I would ask if anyone can help with the investigation to please get in touch.
"I would also urge anyone with elderly relatives, friends or neighbours, to check in on them to remind them about the important safety advice for dealing with cold callers coming to the door.
"If you see any suspicious behaviour, then don’t hesitate to call 999.”
People are being advised not to leave doors or windows unlocked or open for a long time, to give relatives or carers who need regular access a key, to use door chains and to ask for and check identity cards.
Anyone who is concerned about a caller at their home should call 999.